Richard T. Cheng

Richard T. Cheng


Renowned professor of computer science

Chairman, JRC, LLC

Richard T. Cheng is the Chairman of JRC, LLC, having retired from ECI Systems and Engineering, which he established in 1980. A naturalized U.S. citizen, born in Nanjing, China, Dr. Cheng earned his undergraduate degree from Taiwan before winning a scholarship to the University of Wisconsin and the University of Illinois where he earned an M.S. degree in Electrical Engineering and a Ph.D. in Computer Science.

Dr. Cheng taught and established a computer science program at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in 1971. He then taught and established a similar program at Hunter College – New York in 1972. In 1973 Dr. Cheng was selected, through a national search led by the Rochester Institute of Technology, to establish and head the Computer Science Department. Accomplishments he had achieved during this time resulted in the Department becoming a School of Computing and Information Science at RIT. Since then, this School of Computing and Information Science has become recognized as one of the largest in the world and one of the country’s most renowned. For his work for the Institute, RIT honored Dr. Cheng with the Doctor of Science degree in January of 2005 an honored him as the “Father of RIT Computer Science.”

In 1979 Dr. Cheng was offered the position of Eminent Professor and Chairman of Computer Science at Old Dominion University (ODU). Within three years he obtained full accreditation for B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in computer science at ODU. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia invited Dr. Cheng as a consultant to establish a College of Computer Science and Engineering in 1981 and as a consultant to the nation’s computer network systems until 1991. 1n 1983 Governor Charles Robb appointed Or. Cheng as the Chairman of the statewide task force in the curriculum evaluation of all thirty-three institutions of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia. In 1994 ODU honored Dr. Cheng with a Doctor of Science degree for his work at ODU.

Dr. Cheng established ECI Systems Engineering in 1980 through using only personal funds and only had one employee working on the research and development of Dr. Cheng’s ideas. ECI Systems Engineering’s big break came in 1983, when ECI competed and won the United States Information Agency’s worldwide computer network contract. With the contract, he surpassed IBM, Xerox, Wang’s Lab and numerous other industrial giants where the incumbent was Wang’s Lab, in technical requirements. At that time, the company had a total of six employees, which included his wife, Nancy, and his son, James.

In 1987 Dr. Cheng retired from his academic career and devoted his time fully to running ECI. Since then, through several years of hard work, ECI has grown into a full-fledged engineering, manufacturing, communication and service company with over 500 employees and clients throughout the United States and Europe. In 1991 Dr. Cheng led ECI to obtain the $240 million contract from the IRS which was the largest contract to award to a small business by the U.S. Government. As of December 2002, Dr. Cheng has retired from his business and industrial career and devotes his time to reading, writing, and traveling.

Areas of Expertise

  • Education


  • National Small Business Person of the Year
  • Medal for Invention Taiwan
  • Virginia Outstanding Industrialist of the Year 1998

Boards Joined

  • Old Dominion University
  • ECI Enterprises

Explore our work by topic

Explore our research, programs, initiatives and events.